Think Outside the Box


Today I am going to share with you a question I was asked in a job interview 8 years ago. This question really inspired me and changed my outlook on the way I thought and approached problems.

Question: You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night, it’s raining heavily, when suddenly you pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for a bus:

1) An old lady who looks as if she is about to die,
2) An old friend who once saved your life,

3) The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to if there could only be one passenger in your car?

This is a moral/ethical dilemma, so let’s look at the options that were in my head at the time:

* You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first;

* or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back.

* However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.

I won’t tell you what answer I gave, but needless to say, I didn’t get the job. But I was intrigued, so I called back a week later and asked what the right answer was…

Here is what they told me:

The candidate who was hired gave this answer:

I would give the car keys to my Old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams.

Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to “Think Outside the Box.


  • Michael

    Haha I got the answer by accident when I first heard this question. I blurted out the answer as a joke and surprisingly it was right. xD

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  • Raimi

    never thought of that… I love this story..will share it with others..

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  • Adam Thompson

    Brilliant! I used to have a Sunday School teacher who always gave us a puzzle like this every week before he started class…they definitely teach you to find alternative solutions!

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  • Henry

    wow, that has to be the greatest answer ever to be serious if it was me I would have token the friend, but doing what the guy answered never even crossed my mind

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  • Craig Dewe

    Because there is no one around me to brag to I would just like to say I got it right.

    Box – 0 Craig – 1

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  • 2ThePoint

    Hmm, my first instinct was ‘save the old lady’, but then I thought this question isn’t as straightforward as it looks. So I decided: if my old friend had the skills to save my life, then he can save the old lady’s. So I’ll pick up the perfect partner knowing the old lady’s in good hands.

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  • Chuck

    My answer would have been that I would drive by real fast and splash them all—looking back in my rear view mirror and laughing like a hyena.

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  • David Maleney

    Did the interviewer ask you if you were
    Dean of Nazareth?

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  • Thomas Gray

    I must admit, I was asked the very same question at a job interview for a web dev position at an insurance company. Seeing as I had heard this before, I awnserd with the “outside the box” awnser, but still didn’t get the job.

    What a load of pahil.

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  • Kieran Allen

    I really should think before answering these questions, i always get caught out

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  • Jonk

    “Hmm, my first instinct was ’save the old lady’, but then I thought this question isn’t as straightforward as it looks. So I decided: if my old friend had the skills to save my life, then he can save the old lady’s. So I’ll pick up the perfect partner knowing the old lady’s in good hands.”

    Yeh, my answer too

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  • Dare

    Yeah, I thought of that before reading the final answer haha…why not give the keys to the partner to take the old lady to the hospital and me to stay with my dream partner :)

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  • The Baldchemist

    What were the old friend, dream partner doing about the old lady?
    Maybe the dream partner was together with the ld friend.
    These are such stuid questions. They have nothing to do with reality and certainly do not reflect any personality trait.
    If one was so shallow as to stay with the dream partner while your friend took the old lady to hospital, where does that place your mentality?
    An egoist that thinks about his/her own pleausre.
    Would you be wondering about the old lady? You give the responsibility to someone else. What is this?
    The first instinct and the ONLY instinct is to take
    the old lady to hospital. Never mind the lateral thinking; Take the woman to hospital!!!! Easy.
    The problem with the World today is people trying to think phycologically. Placed there by people who wouldn’t know how to do the job themselves!
    No Good old common sense; justain’t common anymore is it?
    The Baldchemist

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  • Chuck Bartok

    Most interesting to me are many of the
    sardonic comment to the post.

    Interesting group of readers

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  • The Baldchemist

    Yes its interesting. Give the answer that the questioner wants and you get the job. But what does it say about your skills? What do the answers indicate?
    Where do they place someone who answers with the humane?
    It would seem to me that anyone wanting the “correct answer” needs an egoist and selfish bastard of the highest order. Who would work for a company that relied on set questions; that you may know in advance.
    Judgement! Priceless skill.
    The Baldchemist, getting all the joy out of everyday.

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  • The Baldchemist

    Just an addendum; Read Edward de Bono. An “expert” on out of the box thinking. The same man who gave George W Bush his line of thinking. QED. The Baldchemist

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  • Sandy

    Just wanted to say that my husband of 38 years – Charlie has been thinking outside the box for years. He always tries to think of all the angles. I must say though he messed up big time on the 5 question test.

    I still love him though…we are new to all of this stuff and learning soooo much I think at times my head will bust.

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  • Larry

    Something tells me that the “baldchemist was not able to come up with an answer. Why else would someone become be so agitated over a dam question. Perhaps his girlfriend left him for someone she met at the bus stop.

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  • shannuy

    I’d say none of them, otherwise I’d be late for work hehe

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  • John

    That is a great answer. I like to believe that I think outside of the box, but I never came close to that answer. John

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  • Ed

    Who says the friend is able to drive?

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  • Bill Canaday

    I’d probably stay with the old lady while she died and give my buddy the keys to my car and watch him drive off with my dream lady. Then the cops would pin me with the old gals death and I’d end up frying in the electric chair still cold and wet from the rain.

    But that’s just how things go for me. ;-)

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  • RSA course

    A very sweet little quiz. I’ll remember it for a long time. A Stumble for your efforts.

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  • Ken

    I got it completely wrong. I was going to say I was going to duct tape the other two to the hood of the car. oh well

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  • Ian

    My first thought would be – damn, why am I driving a car that can’t carry 3 passengers?

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  • Dean Hunt

    haha, nice one Ian

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  • The Baldchemist

    Well Larry. i was not agitated. Agitation lies in the way you think. I just wanted to express my view of the situation.
    What does my girl friend have to do with it? Whats yours up to as you write?

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  • Sepius

    I got it wrong, but that was because I could not picture a friend who saved my life that I would hand over the car keys to. When I got the picture of my best friend in my head, it seems fairly logical actually!.

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  • AJ

    This would never happen to me.

    I drive an SUV.

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  • Hemal

    Amazing answer!!

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  • Joe

    Isn’t that just like dumping a whole load onto your old friend? He’s trying to get home and all of a sudden you turn up out of the blue, and tell him to take this poor old dear to hospital, where he’ll probably have to sit and wait for ages while you chat-up the hotty at the bus stop? Wow, that’s the perfect way to repay him for saving your life – have him go and save someone elses!
    Surely the young woman will be just as confused, unless you get out of the car professing your undying love to her as the reason why your shirking your responsibilities rescuing some poor old dear, in which case she’ll probably hate you.

    Come on people, back in the box – really if your decent, you should take the old woman and as repayment to your friend let him stay and talk to the beautiful woman.

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  • Kerry

    Haven’t any of you guys seen the movie “16 Blocks” with Bruce Willis? This “question” has been around!

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  • Michael

    Great mind test for the afternoon. Thanks.

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  • Poo S. Tain

    you’re all a bunch od dimwit retards for firstly reading this question, and then commenting on the answer. And second of all, whi would u ring up the guy who didnt give u the job. and besides he wouldnt give u the answer anyway, he wouldnt even remember u. so i can safely say the story is bullshit!

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  • Saqib A. Bhatti

    A great story that really help us to think out of the BOX because no one can do the thing that is stated in the story! it is great to have a change and can help a common man to really think about the change….

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  • Small Business Marketing

    You can only win this one if you are “thinking inside the box” Inside the interviewer’s box. Only if you understand how he/she thinks will you get this one right.

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  • Unknown

    This is just my opinion, but I would’ve saved the old lady first. Then I would’ve come back for the person who saved my life. And I would (probably) come back for the perfect partner I’ve been dreaming about.

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  • Anish

    so many comments. well guys, u have all the liberty to think your own way. The way I look at it is, these questions are just to tap the ocean of ideas underlying within you. just take it that way and do not give too much importance to it.. makes sense?

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  • David Taylor

    I think a better answer is to give the keys of the car to your possible mate in life. Remember, in general, men are stronger than women and your mate
    in life might not survive. But after you do this she
    will be grateful and you can take it from there. Now I realize this assumes a male is driving the car.

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  • Leo

    ya…i think most ppl would say that they would save the old lady first and take her to the hospital and then save other ppl later. but i’m pretty sure by the time you take her to the hospital and go back to the bus stop, your old friend and lover will be on the bus by then. cuz srsly. who waits for the bus for that long.

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  • trickshift

    o and then the old mate decides to steal the car.we do not have to include common sense a.

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  • http://no Vipin Kumar

    I found this question every where, don’t u have any other questions

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  • wuz up

    i am just am wondering what kind of job would depend on a question to make sure you have the right person?! Crazy huh?! My first impression would’ve been to call an ambulance for the lady, give chocolates to the friend to pay him back and hang out with your perfect partner… oh well…

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  • Lkjjkj

    lol good one

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  • Quazierdailey

    Perfect partner

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  • Udayamohan Vasantharasan

    get out of the car tell your friend to take it and save the old lady and then stay with your soul mate,
    sorry to ruin it for everyone.

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